Updated: May 8
Anxiety is very prevalent, and the symptoms can be debilitating. Learning how to cope with anxiety can vastly improve your quality of life.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders.
Feeling anxious is a normal response to stressful situations.
Anxiety is considered a disorder when you have excessive feelings of fear, anxiety, or panic that can interfere with your daily functioning.
Anxiety can cause emotional, physical, and cognitive symptoms.
There are many coping skills and lifestyle changes for managing anxiety.
Therapy can help a lot.
The most common mental health disorders in the U.S. (and the world) are anxiety disorders. It’s estimated that anxiety disorders affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. Over 40 million adults in the United States are living with anxiety disorders. Anxiety can be debilitating and can even cause physical symptoms.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is feelings of fear or worry. These feelings can impact your mental, physical, and emotional health. Feeling anxious on occasion is a normal and natural response to a stressful situation. But, for people with an anxiety disorder, excessive worry, fear, and even panic are felt regularly.
It can impact your quality of life, and even prevent you from functioning normally. This is when anxiety becomes a disorder.
Multiple conditions can be considered “anxiety.” Here are some of them:
Generalized anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder
Separation anxiety disorder
These disorders have many commonalities. If you think you have an anxiety disorder, you should always seek a diagnosis from a professional, and never try to diagnose yourself.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorder can have many different symptoms. Different people may experience them in different ways. Here are some of the more common symptoms:
Feelings of fear
Increased heart rate
Feeling a sense of impending doom or danger
Fast, shallow breathing (hyperventilation)
Fixation or obsessively thinking about a trigger
Feeling short of breath
An impact on physical health, such as digestive issues, chronic pain, or headaches
These feelings can be difficult to control and may even result in you beginning to avoid social situations or other trigger-inducing situations. Learning how to cope with anxiety can be a big help.
Ways to manage anxiety
Learning coping skills can help you manage your emotions and anxious feelings. The right coping skills can be life-changing. It’s important to note that coping is a skill – it’s a learned behavior, and it may take practice to see its impact. You will get better at managing anxiety the more you use your coping skills.
Here are some helpful suggestions:
Avoid alcohol and drugs: Alcohol and drugs can make anxiety and other mental health issues, like depression, even worse. They may seem like they’re helping at the moment, but they can actually exacerbate mental illness. If you need help quitting, seek assistance from your healthcare provider.
Stay physically active: Part of a healthy lifestyle includes movement. Physical activity is a stress reducer. Lowering your stress can help you decrease anxiety. Start slowly and increase your activity as tolerated.
Reduce caffeine and quit smoking if you’re a smoker: Both caffeine and nicotine can exacerbate anxiety. If you need help to quit smoking, see your healthcare provider.
Make sure you get enough sleep: Restorative sleep can help lower your stress and increase your ability to deal with stressful situations. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, it’s important to let your healthcare provider know.
Eat nourishing foods: Nutrition has been linked to reduced anxiety, although more research is needed. Eating a healthful diet that incorporates vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish is good for your physical and mental health.
Learn your triggers: Being able to identify what triggers anxiety for you can help you manage it. Practice your coping skills and identify a safety plan to help you deal with any feelings of anxiety or panic when you’re in situations that involve your triggers.
Maintain a social life: Although isolating can be tempting, keeping in contact with your family and friends can be a stress-reliever and help you feel better.
Journal: Keeping a journal can help you identify patterns with anxiety and stress, as well as look for things that decrease it or reduce it.
Practice stress management and relaxation: Keeping bad stress at bay is an important way to keep anxiety under control. Meditation, yoga, and visualization are all techniques that can help you relax and reduce anxiety.
Follow your treatment plan: If medication is part of your treatment plan, it’s important to take it as prescribed. Attending therapy can be an important tool to manage anxiety as well.
If you find that you’re continuing to struggle with anxiety despite employing coping skills, you may want to consider getting professional help.
When should I get professional help?
Everyone will experience anxiety at some point in their lives. But, if yours feels persistent, excessive, or is stopping you from living life, you should consider seeking professional help.
Here are some signs that you should seek help:
Having sleep issues
Difficulties with personal or professional relationships
Not doing activities you enjoy
Isolated from others
Anxiety can be difficult to manage, but professional assistance, particularly therapy, can help you learn to cope with it and lessen its impact on your life.
Get relief from a qualified, caring therapist in the South Florida area
Anxiety can have a huge impact on your life. Having the support from the right professionals can create a huge shift. Individual therapy can be very beneficial for reducing anxiety. It can help you increase your coping skills, build resiliency, and give you a safe space to process.
The team at Love Discovery is ready to welcome you with open arms. If you’re ready to get started in therapy to help facilitate healing within yourself and your interpersonal relationships, make an appointment with any of our therapists today. Feeling hesitant about how we can help? Call 305-605-LOVE for a free 20-minute consultation.
We are here to help you improve your mental health and support you through this tough time.